Four wheel drives are part of the rural and regional Australian way. Many people who work on the land can’t imagine life without one. Of course, people in the suburbs who love off-roading get stuck into 4WDs as well. But to get the most out of your 4WD, we want to save money from the get-go. Thanks to Bill Tsouvalas, an expert on 4WD finance at Savvy, we can get the inside track on 4WD finance, budgeting and everything else to save a few pennies at the end of the day.

Ask yourself – what is my 4WD for?
This is the first bit of information you need to figure out. What are you intending to do with your 4WD? Is it for the bush, or just for around town? Do you want a manual or auto transmission? Will you use it to haul heavy loads? Do you want petrol or diesel for extra low-rev torque? Will you use your 4WD to tow a boat or caravan? If so, you’ll need to be sure you search for a 4WD that can handle pulling that much weight. “Once you have a target, you can aim for it,” Bill says. “It seems obvious, but this makes hunting around for your 4WD so much easier. The shortlist becomes quite easy to whittle down after that!”

Looking online
It’s easier than ever to look for new and used 4WDs online. Carsales and Gumtree are all excellent resources for finding and comparing 4x4s of all stripes, including SUVs and “mini” SUVs. In some cases, you can make lists you can refer back on.

Setting your budget
Setting your budget should be a representation of how much you can afford each month in loan repayments. This should take fuel, insurance, registration and other associated costs into account.
“To take the pain out of this process, you should use a 4WD loan calculator,” Bill Tsouvalas says. “That way you can plug in your desired numbers and know – at a reasonable estimate – how much you’ll have to set aside each month to pay for the 4WD.”

Using a 4WD loan calculator
Using a car loan calculator makes figuring out how you can make a certain 4WD will fit your budget. Even though a calculator is an excellent tool, you should keep in mind that interest rates don’t include how much you could be paying in fees and charges. To get a clearer idea of how much you might be paying, you should look for comparison rates. Comparison rates include most fees and charges associated with a 4WD loan. Though fees will vary from lender to lender, some charges and fees are part and parcel of finance. Other lenders may charge early payment fees and account keeping fees.

TIP: Find a 4WD specialist broker to help you find loans designed for the 4WD lifestyle.

Applying for finance
Knowing your price ceiling goes a long way when applying for finance. A specialist 4WD broker can sift through several – sometimes dozens! – of loans to get you the best deal on your finance. When you’re applying for finance, you should have all the numbers in front of you so your lender can pass on better rates due to your diligence. You should also check your credit history before applying, to make sure there aren’t any hidden nasties ready to pop out. This can help you save even more in the long-term – money better spent on exploring the open road!

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